Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July Blog Party: Weeds of Summer

taking a break from working on herbal roots to write for this month's theme for herbal blog party which is the weeds of summer, weeds we love to love and that others love to hate which is being hosted by darcy blue of gaia's gifts. you can go over to her blog for a list of blogs that are participating in this month's party!

there are so many great weeds to choose from, i had a hard time focusing on one! i started to write about my top 6 favorite weeds: plantain, dandelion, burdock, nettles, red clover and self heal but when i started writing about self heal, i realized, this was the herb i needed to tell you about because all the other herbs have been covered a lot already while self heal is left out in the cold!

i thought i had a picture of it in bloom, but i haven't been able to find it. self heal doesn't bloom until mid july so i still have a few weeks before i can capture her in bloom.
self heal, or heal all, prunella vulgaris, is a sweet timid herb i find growing at the back of our property. i dug up a bunch and moved it into my herb garden so i could watch her cycle of life more closely. self heal is in the mint family, so those of you growing mint knows what a 'weed' she can be! self heal is great to have around, just look at her long list of actions: alterative, antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary! it's like having a built in first aid kit all in one plant. pretty amazing. what does all that mean? essentially, this means self heal can be used to treat all sorts of viruses and bacteria, kills germs, lower fevers without normally lowering body temperature, relieve spasms, drying, help upset stomachs, flush out the bladder and kidneys, lower blood pressure, tone, worm and stop bleeding.

self heal is effective for most internal ailments and also good for external wounds. studies have been done on an extract of the plant being used to inhibit HIV virus as well as showing promise in treating herpes, cancer, AIDS, diabetes and many other maladies. clinical studies have shown it to have an antibacterial action which inhibits the growth of pseudomonas, bacillus typhi, e. coli and mycobacterium tuberculi. traditionally, self heal has been used as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases.

as an infusion, self heal works wonders for treating fevers, diarrhea, sore mouth and throat, internall bleeding and weaknessness of the liver and heart. the tea is very pleasant tasting which makes it easy to give to children as well.

this little herb which i'm just getting to know is definitely a keeper in my book!


JoyceAnn said...

Hi Tansy ~ I just discovered we have Self Heal growing along the edge of the fields and woods. I've been doing some research on it , it's definately a great herb to know. Do you use the leaves to make tea ?

I have started a new blog for my herbal studies , I have a pic of Self Heal posted ( check sidebar for Self Heal ), feel free to copy and post if you would like. They're not the greatest photos , since I have a cheap camera , but they do have blooms. I also have some pics of plants I'm trying to identify , please take a look and see if you identify any of them if you have time.


~ Green Blessings ~

Kristena Haslam said...

Long time no see Tansy! This is also a plant I want to know better too. Thanks so much for the info!

Walk in the Woods said...

Thank you for this post ... you are right about this green friend often being left out in the cold. It grows around me and yet I *know* so little of it.

Time to nurture a new relationship, methinks!

Karen Vaughan said...

Hi Tansy,

I love prunella, especially the spikes. They have so much qi that even the inferior brown Chinese spikes seem to clear phlegm-heat. Fortunately we can do better with our own. I use the tinctured whole plant in my hypertension formulas.

Karen Vaughan

Amanda said...

i just discovered a patch on my land, i love how plants will just appear for us. my patch is growing in hard, compacted soil, and will not get so big. i want to move it to the garden and was waiting until fall, do you have any recommendations for me when i do this?? thanks so much. also. i have never put this wonder to use and was hoping to read more on it and how to utilize it (other than tincture and tea???) best before next season. any thing i can check out??

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